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  • Leigh

Barley Bounty: Quick and Healthy Skillet Meal

Years ago at work the cafeteria served a dish they referred to as "Barley Bounty." It was meatless and actually pretty nutritious and good compared to much of what they served at the time. I wanted to try to re-create the dish but ended up changing almost all of the ingredients but the barley. I think the result is better. This version isn't meatless. It includes mild Italian turkey sausage, which boosts the protein but keeps the dish low in fat. I also included mushrooms to complement the earthy flavor of the barley. Plenty of onions, carrots, and celery further boost the vegetable content of the dish. Sour cream lends creaminess and contrasts well with the nutty and slightly chewy barley, and a little shredded Parmesan provides a salty-savory-nutty flavor. This is an economical, easy recipe that's quick to put together on a busy weeknight, uses up leftover barley, is incredibly tasty as well as comforting, and makes great leftovers for lunches. Stay tuned, though, I may yet try to re-create that original "Barley Bounty."

Barley Bounty:  Italian Sausages Vegetables

Barley Bounty: Barley, Mushrooms, and Vegetables in a Creamy Parmesan Sauce -- Serves 6+

16 ounces of mild Italian turkey sausage, casings removed

8 ounces of sliced mushrooms

8 ounces of chopped carrots (about 1 1/2 cups)

2 stalks of celery chopped

1 small onion, chopped

1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon of lemon pepper

2 teaspoons of minced dried parsley

1/2 teaspoon of salt

3 cups of cooked barley

1 cup of light sour cream

1/2 - 1 cup of low-fat milk

1 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese, plus and extra 1/2 cup (optional)

1/4 cup of green onions, chopped

Heat a large non-stick skillet or chef's pan over medium heat and coat it with olive or canola oil spray. Crumble the turkey sausage into the pan and saute it and the onion together until the sausage is cooked through and the onion softens. Add the mushrooms, carrots, and celery and saute everything until the mushrooms release their moisture and the carrots and celery have softened. Stir in the garlic powder, lemon pepper, parsley, and salt. Add the cooked barley and stir everything together. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the sour cream and 1/2 cup of milk. If the mixture seems too dry, add the remaining milk, a little at a time. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and the green onions. If you'd like, sprinkle the extra 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese on top of the barley before serving it.

Barley Bounty:  Barley, Mushrooms, and Vegetables in a Creamy Parmesan Sauce

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